Maternity, Paternity and Childbirth Benefits

Information on the benefits available to parents of newborn babies: who can apply and how to register for them...

Women receive maternity benefit whilst on maternity leave. The benefit is equivalent to 82 percent of salary for the first 30 days and then drops to 75 percent of salary, subject to a maximum salary.

Women may take up to 15 weeks maternity leave. At least nine weeks must be taken after the birth and at least one week must be taken before the date when the baby is due.

Following the birth of a child, the father has a right to ten days paternity leave, seven of which will be paid for by the social security system at 82 percent of salary (subject to a maximum). This leave must be taken within four months.

Registering for benefits

For employed people administration of family benefits is handled by the National Office for Family Benefits for Salaried Persons  (ONAFTS). They have offices in all the major cities including Brussels. Salaried workers must apply via their employer in the first instance as it is their specific scheme into which they have been paying contributions that will make payment of benefits due.

  • ONAFTS (in French, German and Dutch) 

The self-employed must approach the fund for independent workers, INASTI.

Anyone who does not fall into one of the categories above can apply for a guaranteed family benefit via the social assistance scheme. The TMS can advise on benefits and the application process.

Birth payment (Allocation de naissance)

The father applies for the birth allowance (Allocation de naissance). If he is not a salaried worker then the mother may apply. Failing that another member of the household may be able to apply if they are in employment.

The benefit may be applied for at any time from the sixth month of pregnancy. The medical staff undertaking the prenatal care will provide the necessary documentation to confirm the pregnancy. Payment is made to the mother directly (usually via bank transfer) at any time from the eighth month of pregnancy. Amounts vary depending on whether it is a first child, second or subsequent child or a multiple birth.

After the birth it is essential to provide the benefit authorities with proof that the birth took place. This will be provided by the local authority following the registration of the birth. In the event of a still birth a different form, which records that a child was stillborn, must be submitted. The birth allowance is still paid in this case.

Further Information